CollegeHumor, Big Breakfast and Adaptive Studios have teamed on Downbeat, a six-episode mid-form mockumentary digital series that will premiere on CollegeHumor YouTube channels beginning March 24. A new episode will launch each Sunday.
Conceived and created by Graham Wallace (Jash, I Want My Phone Back) & Luke Kelly-Clyne (Hot Date, The Middle Passage), the series is described as an experiment in the world of character studies — a series where each episode follows the life of one compelling, down on their luck musician. Each episode will capture a slice of life for a different well-intentioned, yet misguided, individual – or group of individuals – hoping to find success and respect in the music business. From a thirty-five-year-old cruise ship diva who hoped for something more, to a tech whiz who’s created a truly awful personalized music app, to a pretentious children’s singer-songwriter frustrated that audiences “miss” the depth behind her seemingly simple lyrics, Downbeatreveals the heartbreaking and hilarious truths these deluded characters refuse to recognize.
Michael Schaubach (CollegeHumor) directs and Kelly-Clyne will serve as showrunner, with writing and appearances from CollegeHumor cast members including Mike Trapp, Ally Beardsley, Grant O’Brien, Raphael Chestang, Katie Marovitch, Brennan Lee Mulligan, and Jessica Ross.
“Inspired by gritty, intimate biographical documentaries such as Rich Hill and Frank and Cindy, the distinguishing and exciting aspect of Downbeat comes from its use of format,” said Kelly-Clyne.” Ours aren’t big wacky characters depicted in a mundane setting, they’re “real” people living their real lives. This stripped-down format will give us the candid, captivating, voyeuristic qualities of a real documentary, but brought to life by fictional characters played by comedians.
“We’ve seen mockumentary-style TV shows about a collective of people: The Office, Modern Family, Parks and Rec. We’ve seen them parody a genre in American Vandal, or many genres in the case of Documentary Now. More rare, though, is the mockumentary that peels back the layers of a single character in each episode–a scripted comedy that actually feels like a blink-and-you-miss-the-magic “slice of life,” said Graham-Wallace.
Perrin Chiles, CEO & co-founder of Adaptive Studios added: “We are ecstatic to collaborate with creative talents like Luke Kelly-Clyne and Graham Wallace on this project. Adaptive Studios remains committed to being on the forefront of new ways to create and deliver content, and CollegeHumor and Big Breakfast offer an excellent launching pad for Downbeat.”
Downbeat will mark the latest in a string of series that CollegeHumor and production company Big Breakfast have teamed to incubate digitally for an eventual TV sale. Others include truTV’s Adam Ruins Everything and PopTV’s Hot Date, both of which began as digital series on CollegeHumor.